The Margarets by Sheri S. Tepper
The MargaretsIn our future Margaret Bain is growing up on Phobos while her parents are working on establishing a human colony on Mars. The work is slow and shows no signs of relieving mankind’s pressures of overpopulation and depleted resources on Earth. Because of these twin problems, other galactic races have stepped in and are forcing changed on Earth, shipping many people to other planets as bond slaves or colonists.
Margaret is the only child among the scientists and creates six imaginary playmates. When she is nine, she imagines one, Queen Wilvia, leaves her permanently to join prince Jozire. At 12, as she is being shipped with her parents back to Earth, three more split off and leave her. At 22, she learns the truth about her family and is forced to leave Earth herself. As she leaves, two more of those “friends” take different paths. Now the seven personalities/women are forced to live separate lives. In order to save mankind, they must be brought together again.
Sheri S. Tepper has written a compelling novel as she tells the different Margaret’s tales from their point of view on the planet where the find themselves living. The novel is a social commentary of how we are ruining our natural resources and not controlling population on Earth. The story is so well written, though, that it’s easy to overlook her preaching.
Of the seven, two become bondslaves, one is a healer, one is a shaman, one is a warrior, one is a queen, and one is a linguist/colonist. The attributes of all are needed to right the wrong that was done at the dawn of mankind by the Quaatar, a violent race of beings who love nothing more than violence. There are dark corners in The Margarets as well as the light times. There is confusion and clarity. There is love and hate and apathy. Tepper has taken humanity and brought it to light in an unusual and enjoyable manner.
The Margarets isn’t what I expected. I’m really glad, because I was expecting a familiar formula. I should have known better from Tepper. She’s excellent at leading the reader into a new world of thought as well as fantasy.